Jalston Fowler has watched the game-winning touchdown play against Texas A&M a lot fewer times than the average Alabama fan. “I only watched it once,” he said following Tuesday’s Crimson Tide practice. “I watched it yesterday. Jarrick Williams came over Sunday and asked me if I had recorded the game. I said, ‘No, man.’ Did the chilling.”
The winning play was a five-yard pass from A.J. McCarron to Jalston Fowler on a third-and-goal at Kyle Field in College Station as Alabama defeated Texas A&M, 49-42.
Fowler, a 6-1, 250-pound junior from Prichard, missed most of last season after suffering a knee injury in the second half of the second game of 2012. He was held out of contact work through spring practice and admitted that he felt uneasy in Alabama’s opener against Virginia Tech, when he had only two carries for a net of one yard.
The touchdown reception was the end to a very good day for Fowler.
“It was a great play call,” Fowler said. “AJ believed in it so everybody else believed in it. So we just ran the play. It was easy, it was wide open.”
Fowler said there is some extra pressure on a receiver when he is so open.
“It’s kind of hard because you have to focus in. If you take your eyes off that ball and you miss it, it could be deadly for you. Quarterback says ‘I ain’t throwing him no more balls, I don’t care if he’s butt naked wide open.’ Hey, I ain’t gonna mess up my chances. Not with AJ.”
He said Texas A&M was having to overprotect on the run. “They knew we were running, so we hit them with a fake,” he said. It gave me an opportunity to slip out the backside and catch the pass for a touchdown. It felt pretty good. I hope I get plenty more.”
The top-ranked Alabama football team held its second practice of the week on Tuesday afternoon, working for two hours in full pads at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields. The Crimson Tide is gearing up for its 2013 home opener on Saturday, where it will host Colorado State at 6 p.m. CDT at Bryant-Denny Stadium with television by ESPN2.
Against Texas A&M, Fowler had four carries for 37 yards in addition to his touchdown reception. He was also part of another Bama touchdown, a flea flicker on which he took the handoff from McCarron, then pitched back to the quarterback. McCarron hit DeAndrew White on a 44-yard touchdown pass that tied the score at 14-14.
“Yes, sir,” he said after the game. “I got an assist. We ran that play a year or so ago when either Eddie (Lacy) or Trent (Richardson) threw it back to AJ. That play seems to work all the time.”
He said his job on that play “is not automatic. You have to pitch the ball back and then turn around and make sure nobody’s coming, so you’ve got to block, too.”
Does he like the flea flicker?
“It really doesn’t matter to me,” Fowler said. “Whatever is called I try to run to the best of my ability.”
He said that he wasn’t running to the best of his ability in the season-opener, a 35-10 win over Virginia Tech. He admitted that he “was scared. I thought my knee was going to give out on me. This game (A&M), I was like, ‘Whatever. Just go out there and ball, and if it goes out, it goes out. Just go out there and play.’
“The coaches kept pushing me (in practice last week). ‘Run, run, do what you do. You’re playing scared.’ They kept pushing me. I was like, ‘I’m tired of hearing this. I just want to play and get them off me, show them I’m not scared.’”
“It was practice last week, before the A&M game. I just started running harder and everybody was like, ‘Man, you’re running so hard. What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘It ain’t me, man. It’s the coaches.’”